Wedding Photography: Working With Others

A lot of photographers are very strict about other people taking pictures on wedding day. Some do not allow anyone else to take pictures. Others do not allow anyone else to take pictures of the formal setups. Some professionals even set their lights up to purposefully ruin other people's photos.

I set this page up to explain how I handle these types of situations and the issues that can arise.

I allow other people to take pictures throughout
the day - even during the formal photo sessions.


The main concerns other photographers have that causes them to disallow people "shooting over their shoulder" seem to be (these are REAL issues mentioned by working professionals on wedding photography forums):

  • The other person's flash might mess up the professional's exposure (I watch for that on the back of the camera and simply reshoot the image - it is very obvious when this has occurred - see picture at right).
  • The other person might distract the eyes of the people in the image (I almost always count down when I'm about to take a photo so people know to look at me - plus, I watch the people in the photo to make sure they are looking at me).
  • The other person might give a copy of the picture to the bride and groom who might not buy a print from the professional (my pricing is setup so I am not concerned about this - not to mention my photos turn out much better than the person shooting over my shoulder).

(this photo was taken at the same time someone else fired their flash - I simply retook the image)
I work very hard at accommodating other people
who are taking pictures during the day.


Attending the wedding of a friend is a special and exciting event - and people often like to take snapshots to help them remember the day.

As long as it doesn't interfere with my job, I will often go a little out of my way so that other people's photos will turn out well. In the example at right, I was standing directly behind the group when I noticed they were about to take a picture. I moved to the side, took a photo of them, and then moved even further away so I wouldn't be in their picture.

Sometimes people accidentally walk into a photo.

With so many people at a wedding and so many pictures being taken throughout the day, it's a given that sometimes people will accidentally get in the way (even if they are trying to avoid the camera!). I work at minimizing these instances by waiting for people to walk past, or, letting them know I am about to take a picture. When accidents happen, I simply reshoot the image.

Sometimes people are in the way without realizing it,
and graciously move when they realize the situation.


There are also times when people who are taking pictures will inadvertently get in my way - as the photos at right show. Several people had stepped into the aisle during the ceremony. As I mentioned above, I work to accommodate other photographers, and, since I had already gotten some close up images and nothing important was immediately scheduled, I was OK with them getting their photos in the aisle.

However, a surprise adjustment to the schedule happened: the kiss was early (middle of the ceremony instead of the very end). Not only that, but as the Bride and Groom were about to kiss, those in the aisle moved in even closer! By quickly moving myself across the back of the church I was still able to get a photo.

However, my job is to take the best possible pictures for the Bride and Groom, and there are very rare times when I will very politely ask a guest to move. For example, immediately after the surprise kiss, I slipped up the aisle and whispered to the guest, "I've been taking pictures from the back and it's a bit challenging to take the photos the Bride and Groom would like when the aisle is occupied, if it would be possible for your to take photos without being in the aisle I would be very grateful." I have found guests to be very polite, extremely accommodating to me, and easy to work with. Most guests don't even realize I am in the back taking pictures - and I have never, ever, had a guest purposefully get in the way of a picture.

(just before the "surprise" kiss -
notice the people in the aisle?)

(the "surprise" kiss - everyone in the
aisle suddenly moved in closer)

(soon after the kiss: when they realized they
were in the way, they graciously moved)


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